By Lee Cataluna
On Farrington Highway on the business end of Waipahu, next to Larry's Discount Mufflers and Dynamic Auto Repair, there's a place where women go to be comforted.
The last place you'd expect to find a well-appointed day spa is in a green two-story hollow tile building upstairs from Tanioka's Seafood and Catering. But once you're inside the salon, you don't notice the fish smell from Tanioka's anymore and you can't hear the whir and clang from the auto shops. Inside, the walls are painted a soothing dappled blue. Scented candles flicker, tiny blue lights shine like stars on the ceiling, and white gauzy curtains hang from satin ribbons.
But perhaps the most surprising thing about this dainty, peaceful place in the middle of a decidedly industrial part of town is the name of the establishment. This is Salon PMS.
Tammy Courtney-Arciaga, owner of Salon PMS, swears the name means "Pamper Me Special," though she's willing to let people think what they will. Either way, Tammy's goal is to provide a retreat for world-weary women to come for beauty treatments and soul soothing.
It's just Tammy working alone in the salon, doing manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, massage and special treatments like detoxifying body wraps. Customers are booked one at a time. For many of her clients, that's the best part. There isn't someone in the next cubicle getting her nails done the same time you're trying to enjoy a massage. It's one-on-one attention. "Generally, that's the only peace my clients get in their lives," says Tammy.
Tammy's clientele is made up of regulars, women she's known for years and a handful of men who get dragged in by their wives. "At first, the men come in and go, 'uh, this is a girl thing.' And by the time they leave, they're saying, 'So when do I have to come back?' "
Most of the appointments are booked well in advance, but every so often, Tammy can take a walk-up customer. Not that she doesn't get requests all the time.
On the Monday morning after the primary election, Carolyn Golojuch, an unsuccessful candidate for the Board of Education, was there to get a pedicure and a bit of a pep talk. Golojuch swears her visits to Tammy's salon got her through graduate school and get her through life. "It makes me feel better. It helps me continue to do what I'm doing," Golojuch says.
Working in the salon is Tammy's stress-reliever. She doesn't get massages, doesn't get manicures, doesn't even do her own nails. "I'm more a giver," she says. "I don't like people to fuss over me."
But she does enjoy a giggle now and then about her salon's catchy name.
"People tell me they call information asking for the phone number for Salon PMS and the person from directory assistance goes, "What?!"
Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or email@example.com.